Third Round of Forums This Week on UDO Revision
Ginger Corless is familiar with Moore County because her parents live in Vass, but this week she will be scrutinizing Southern Pines as one of the consultants hired to help the town revise its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
“I have a lot of background information based on the work done so far, but I won’t have a feel for the design issues until I walk the same streets that you do,” said Corless, president of HHI Design in Orlando, Fla.
Corless will kick off the third of four three-day UDO revision forums at 10 a.m. Monday when she conducts a design tour of the town.
“I want to talk to people, take the issues that have been identified and answer questions about how urban design can be integrated into the UDO,” she said. “We’re talking about the design elements in the built space. Then we can begin building the framework for the design criteria and imagery, or graphics, that will be incorporated into the UDO.”
Town Manager Reagan Parsons said the consulting team will be looking for feedback.
“Regarding not only what is valued and loved about current design, but what might be improved as we look toward capital plans and redevelopment in the future,” Parsons said. “Obviously, there is a focus on West Southern Pines and downtown that will be very key.”
In addition to the revision, the consulting team will draft neighborhood development plans for West Southern Pines and downtown.
“Once we complete this third forum, we think we’ll have enough to begin drafting the text and graphics for the code, as well as the neighborhood development plans,” said Bruch Peshoff, a principal at Planning Works, the Kansas-based company that is leading the yearlong revision process.
Peshoff said that Planning Works will begin sharing portions of those drafts early in the summer, though he doesn’t expect them to be completed until the end of summer.
“We don’t want this to be an overwhelming process,” he said.
Public workshops for this week’s forum will be held Monday and Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at the Douglass Community Center. There will also be a “brown bag” lunches Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. in the community room at the town’s police department.
The UDO controls design and land-use regulations for the town. The revision will streamline and update the existing code in addition to ensuring its compliance with, and ability to implement the goals of, the Comprehensive Long-Range Plan adopted by the town in 2010.
Peshoff said the revision process has gone well.
“We haven’t come across any major obstacles and there has been early consensus on issues,” he said. “There has been nothing divisive out there, so we haven’t had to spend time building bridges.”
Parsons said Planning Works has stayed on schedule and met its contractual obligations.
“To date, those involved in the process have been very impressed,” he said. “The consultant team has done an excellent job of weeding out and understanding the difficulties with the current language of the UDO. There has been a lot of consensus about how we need to move forward.”
In between the forums, interested parties can visit the revision website — www.southernpinesudo.org — for updates. The website also includes community surveys, among other things.
Planning Works also intends between forums to conduct other public meetings, provide a monthly progress and status report, conduct regular teleconferences with town staff, and maintain the website.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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